When a relationship comes to an end, it can be a very difficult time emotionally. The period of healing after divorce or a breakup can feel equally as stressful as the divorce or breakup itself was.
We may find ourselves nostalgic over what once was and wishing for those moments to be back. We may catch ourselves feeling even more resentful towards our ex. We may also find ourselves replaying the beginning of the end of our relationship in our minds and continuously analyzing again and again how we could've done things differently.
But it doesn't have to be a long, dragged out, and terrible process. There are some key concepts that are beneficial to keep in mind so that we can avoid falling subject to a lot of extra stress and despair that are only going to make things worse then better. Here are four things to keep in mind when healing after divorce or a breakup:
1. Healing takes time and patience. It may take us weeks, months, or even years to fully recover and heal. And, for some of us, we never really do feel like we have fully healed.
Regardless of the time it takes for us, it is all perfectly normal. Everyone has their own unique process that happens in their own unique way on their own unique time. So be compassionate with yourself. Give yourself the time and space to cry it out whenever you need to and heal.
2. Analyzing and replaying what happened over and over again in your mind isn't going to help or change anything. For many of us, we can go through a variety of stages in focusing on the past. We rethink all the things we didn't like about our ex. We rethink all the things we loved about our ex and miss about them. We rethink all the things that we wish we would've said and done instead of what we did.
Even though this is our tendency, it's not a very healthy route. It's just our minds (or ego) trying to remain attached to suffering. It's keeping us out of the present. When we rethink these things over and over in our minds it can really wear us down physically because our body then thinks that we're experiencing the same thing over and over again.
So try to catch yourself if you fall into the habit of re-analyzing what happened and draw your attention back to what is going on for you right now.
3. Forgiveness is huge. And I don't just mean forgiveness towards the ex, but also towards ourselves. We have to put forth the effort to forgive and forgive often -- whether we are going through a breakup or not. We have to focus on forgiving constantly.
In relation to my previous point about replaying the past, whenever you do find your mind going into a "replay," stop, be present, and then say out loud, "[Name], I forgive you" and then go ahead and say "I forgive myself" as well.
Even if you don't fully mean it 100 percent every time that you do it, just the act of putting forth consistent effort is enough to help begin some shifts.
4. No relationship ever fully ends -- it just changes form. When we go through a divorce or breakup, we find ourselves upset over what we have lost. We are upset because what we had in the past we no longer have now and that our dreams for the future are now completely gone.
But, it's reassuring to know that no relationship -- at any time -- ever really fully ends. Rather it only changes form.
So even though you are no longer married to your husband, it doesn't mean that you no longer have a relationship with him. It just means that you are no longer married. Just as if you are no longer talking with your ex boyfriend, it doesn't mean that you no longer have a relationship with him. It just means that you are no longer communicating.
Even when someone passes away, it doesn't mean that the relationship has ended. The relationship simply continues to live on in a different form, where it is a bit more of a spiritual connection rather than a physical connection as it was.
The relationship doesn't end because it has, at one time, existed and, therefore, it continues to impact how you live your life. Remember that movie that you never watched until your ex came around? Or that meal that your ex introduced to you and now you find yourself eating it all the time? It's just like that.
That's how your ex continues to impact you and forever will. For that reason, they never really do completely leave your heart. When you come to accept the new state of the relationship in this way, this is when some true peace and healing can occur.
Take action now!
Take a moment right now to forgive your ex. Sit back, close your eyes, and say out loud, "[Name], I forgive you." Then also say "I forgive myself for not knowing better" or "I forgive myself for ______" and add in whatever it is you are struggling to forgive yourself with.
Now, give yourself some kind of "treat" in order to express the love and acceptance you have of yourself. Ask yourself: What would be beneficial to me right now to make me feel better? Check in with your body and what you feel it needs. Maybe it's some simple stretching. Maybe involves putting on some music you love and dancing. Maybe it's scheduling a time for a massage. Maybe it's simply taking a walk by a nearby lake or reading a good book with a cup of coffee.
It doesn't have to be complicated. In fact, the simpler the better! Now go ahead and do that some time today!
In the comments below, share how you are healing after divorce or a breakup. What is most challenging for you? Then share one of the four things that I listed above that you feel you need to personally focus on more than the others.
Jennifer is a self and relationship coach and the founder of JenniferTwardowski.com. Her mission is to help women create loving relationships with both others and themselves. Click here for her Free Self and Relationship Healing Meditation and weekly blog updates. To learn about how you can work with her, click here.